BAS: Tell us about your job
Hostess has a lean but mighty marketing team, so our scope is pretty broad.
As a brand director, my work encompasses everything from innovation to lifecycle management and everything in between. I lead the ideation, market research, product development, shopper marketing and growth strategy for the breakfast portfolio at Hostess.
This portfolio includes Breakfast Pastries, Muffins and Donettes: Hostess’ number one sub-brand and the leader in Sweet Baked Good donuts.
BAS: Tell us about the company
Hostess Brands is a five year-old company with a 100 year-old brand, so we have a very entrepreneurial culture focused on growing a legacy brand.
BAS: What drew you to working in the snacks industry?
The consumer-centric nature of the business.
In food – more than any other industry – the consumer has so many choices and the market dynamics are changing rapidly. It’s exciting to understand the consumer as a path to success.
BAS: What is your biggest achievement in your current position?
The launch of Hostess’ new Breakfast Pastries and Jumbo Donettes line this fall.
We purchased a bakery that produces Breakfast formats in February and had an innovative new model line on shelf by October, filling a key gap in the market.
We focused on the consumer needs for portability and freshness, so all of our products are individually wrapped to ensure consumers have a fresh eating experience whenever and wherever they want to enjoy these new breakfast items.
BAS: What are the biggest challenges the industry is currently facing?
Keeping up with the changing attitudes and behaviours of consumers and – within that rapid evolution – understanding how to best meet their needs for permissible indulgence.
BAS: What do you think will be the next best thing in snacking?
For indulgent snacks, I think eating experience reigns supreme. Identifying ways we can redefine products to ensure the experience is both engaging and worth it will drive growth.
Consumers are eating indulgent snacks during all day parts, so the lines between breakfast and snacks are blurring, which leaves us lots of room to deliver new and interesting products. Indulgence is about taste, but also about how it makes you feel interacting with the product.
At Hostess, we are always asking ourselves how we can elevate the experience to bring the consumer something new. Recent product launches like Hostess Bakery Petites are a good example of this.
BAS: Do you believe the industry is proactive in answering consumer needs?
I do. However, I also think consumer needs are changing quickly, so there’s constantly something new to solve.
BAS: What do you believe is the biggest misconception about snacks?
That the emotion of guilt should be associated with indulgence. Indulgent snacks are an important part of a balanced approach to eating.
BAS: Where do you see yourself in five years from now?
My career objective is to always be challenged, contribute at a high level and be in a position to make a meaningful difference.
I’ve found over my career that can happen in all different types of job titles and companies.
I would also like to be able to say, “five years ago, I led Hostess’ biggest innovation launch”.
What keeps you busy when not focused on snacks?
My family – my kids are teenagers and will be off to college soon, so I’m trying to soak up the time I have with them now.
Thanks for your time and for sharing, Becky.